Just a quick question. How do you choose your food? Because it's tasty? For immediate gratification? Convenience?
Right now, just throw all those reasons out the window, because the most important thing to look for when choosing what you eat is its nutrient density. Nutrient density refers to the amount of nutrients for the given volume of food. Nutrient- dense foods have a lot of nutrients and generally fewer calories.
Consider this: You're hungry and you want a snack. You have a choice between that glazed doughnut or an apple. Which do you choose? Well, hopefully, the apple.
The apple has around 80 calories and lots of vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals that will keep you healthy. The fiber and water in the apple will keep you satisfied until your next meal.
On the other hand, the doughnut is packed with over 200 calories and very little nutrients. There is only about one gram of fiber so it won't keep you feeling full either. Instead, you'll be longing for a second one. Sure it tastes good, but you're only putting in a whole lot of saturated fats and plenty of sugar. Not very good for the body if you ask me.
So which foods are nutrient-dense? Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are big winners because they are rich in nutrients and other compounds that have healthy benefits such as fiber, phytochemicals and essential fatty acids.
Other foods include salmon, tuna, trout, low-fat dairy products, oatmeal and whole grains, soy, dry beans and even some fortified foods.
So the next time you head over to your supermarket, choose foods that are nutrient dense by checking the nutrient facts labels on the backs or sides of the packages. Look at the serving sizes, note the number of calories per serving and look at the amount of fiber, vitamins, calcium and iron. The packaged food that has the better combination of lower calories, higher nutrients and less sodium would be the ones to make it into your basket.
Eating nutrient dense foods is a great way to maintaining good health and if you're on a diet? It's a great way to keeping your weight in check.
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